Monday, January 19, 2015

Finds: Hone's Christmas Gift

Dick Scott: Inheritors of a Dream (1962)

I found a copy of this old coffee-table book by Dick Scott in Greg Brimblecombe's little boutique secondhand bookshop "Dustjackets" in Thames the other day. It's a 1969 Reed reprint of the original 1962 edition, published by a certain Ronald Riddell (any relation of Ron Riddell the poet, I wonder?)

Dick Scott bio-note (1969)

Since this blurb was first written in 1962, of course, Dick Scott has published quite a lot more. You can find a good discussion of his work here. The most famous one is, I suppose, Ask That Mountain (1975), about Parihaka. My personal favourite, though, is Seven Lives on Salt River (1979), about the Kaipara harbour and its curious highways and byways.

Inscription in Inheritors of a Dream

On getting home and looking through the book a bit more thoroughly, I found the above inscription written on the half-title.

But is this our Hone? Hone Tuwhare? And who's Lindsay? Lindsay Rabbitt, the poet? Someone else? None of my business, of course, but one does feel a bit curious.

My inscribed copy of Mihi (1987)

To check, I went to my own copy of Mihi, signed for me by Hone on a rainy day in 1998.

So let's compare them:

1972 signature (detail)

1998 signature (detail)

I don't think there's much doubt that the "Hone" in question is definitely Hone Tuwhare. The elaborate "H" is enough to give it away even if there weren't so many other similarities.

That's not all there is in the book, though. Here's Dick Scott's introduction:

But then, on turning to p.29, I found an old letter nestled in beside the image below (ignore the rubric on the left, which refers to another image on the same page which I haven't reproduced):

Fern Tree Cottage

Here's the letter:

letter (page 1)

letter (page 2)

Fern Tree Cottage (detail)

A bit of rummaging around on the internet an Otago Daily Times article about the fact that "Fern Tree Cottage," now renamed "Ferntree Lodge" and described as "Dunedin's oldest house," is not only still standing, but was sold a couple of years ago after having belonged to "convicted fraudster Michael Swann." Here's a picture of it now, more than fifty years after Dick Scott's book first appeared:

So there you go, a Christmas gift that keeps on giving, forty years down the track …

Ans Westra: Hone Tuwhare at the side of James K. Baxter's grave (Hiruharama, October 1972)

1 comment:

Richard said...

Hi Jack. I haven't been to Greg's shop yet, although he occasionally gets books off me when he comes up here (and vica versa). But that was a good find. I always look for signatures. It's definitely Hone's. I have had a lot of signed and inscribed books by famous writers and others. It is good to have that touch. I have an inscribed book, inscribed by Smithyman. And a few other things. But mostly I sold the more valuable ones...
That is Ron Riddell's father who was a publisher. I found out when I was working for him at the (more or less first) book shop he had in Dominion Road, where his (musician) brother, Alistair commented when I pointed out my father wasn't pictured in his (Scott's) book about Hellaby's (Stock in Trade: Hellaby’s First Hundred Years) there are pictures of people I met when I worked there, but I think my father must have been off work, or overseas, he was an architect there, and I saw an engineer he knew...
Now Alistair's explanation of all this goes wider so I'll leave that out. But it is Ron's father, as he financed him to go to Fiji for research on one of his books. I'm not sure about the others.
Probably the one you have.
I have only read '151 Days' (which is good) and leafed through 'Stock in Trade'.

I sold a number of his other books though.

I cant read those letters even with "zoom" but those things and cuttings are great to find...ephemera.

Great to have a book of Tuwhare's signed. I had a voucher for a book for my birthday last year and I got a collected of Hone's poetry.